Team Commitment Fuels Longhorns’ Progress

Texas Longhorns football helmets
Texas Longhorns football helmets | Image by Texas Football/Facebook

The Texas Longhorns football team enters a pivotal offseason ahead of its fourth season under head coach Steve Sarkisian as it prepares for the gauntlet that is SEC football this fall.

The team has progressed each season under the current boss, winning the Big 12 and reaching the College Football Playoff for the first time just a few months ago. While plenty of talent is leaving the team from last year, Sarkisian is focusing on the lessons he has learned from his success to help drive the team dynamic.

“With team success comes the individual accolades, honors, and achievements,” he explained to the media on Tuesday, “It doesn’t go the other way. [In] Year One, we’re 5-7 and have zero players drafted. [In] Year Two, we go 8-5 and have five players drafted. [In] Year Three, we’re 12-2 and conference champs, I’ve got 11 guys going to the NFL Combine. It’s not rocket science.”

Sarkisian’s approach has been about “the team” since he arrived in Austin, and he credits all of that for not only his team’s improvement from year to year but the individual achievements of his players and coaches.

“When you commit to the team, you commit to the hard work, and you commit to the culture — you do those things — naturally you start to play a little better football when you’re part of a culture that’s winning,” Sarkisian added. “Hopefully, we can continue building on that moving forward because I do think that’s a real recipe for success for our team and also the individual players of our program.”

Joining a premier college football conference like the SEC can bring challenges with increased competition, particularly with so many players off to the NFL. However, Sarkisian believes his team is ready for the challenge based on the characteristics he looks for when recruiting.

“That’s one characteristic that’s kind of a prerequisite coming into our program,” Sarkisian said. “And if they don’t have it, it’s tough because it’s just a hard environment if that’s not at the core of one of the things that’s a strength of yours.”

The Longhorns also have the unique advantage of entering their new league with an experienced quarterback in Quinn Ewers, who has thrown for the eight-most yards in program history in his first two seasons in Austin.

“There’s nothing like having a third-year starting quarterback, and we haven’t had that luxury in our time here,” Sarkisian said of the heralded junior.

Many of the team’s playmakers have moved on from last year, but no matter the roster’s makeup, Sarkisian’s approach will continue to be about the team dynamic and building on recent success.

“We emphasize that, and I think our team understands it,” the head coach explained. “It’s so clear when I just point to the three years in a row of what it looks like. I don’t have to belabor that point, but I don’t neglect it either. [I’ll] definitely be clear in that messaging to get that point across to the guys. … They’ll reap the benefits of it in the end, but the commitment to the team is most important.”

The Longhorns will wrap up the spring portion of the schedule with their annual Orange and White Spring Game at Darrell K. Royal Stadium on Saturday. Their first season as members of the SEC begins with a nonconference game against Colorado State on Saturday, August 31.

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